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back to article 2060: Humvee-sized, bulletproof meat-eating spiders attack

Danish boffins have uncovered an unforeseen, extra downside of the melting of the Arctic ice cap, according to reports. Not only will there be sea level rises and massive flooding*; there will also be a plague of enormous, invulnerable, heavily armoured meat-eating cannibal spiders. The worrying yet exciting news comes courtesy …

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Pirate

@Lewis Page

I love you. I needed a bit of madness today.

Also:

"Pardosa glacialis are apparently well known for snacking on...insufficiently alert sexual partners. Enormous and correspondingly peckish lady spiders might control most of the rest of their species for us, leaving only relatively small numbers to be occasionally culled by game wardens armed with cruise missiles"

So a bit like the comments section here with Ms Bee, then?

Steven R

Skull and crossbones, because if these buggers get to Siberia and the Eurasian mainland, that's all that will be left of us.

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Anonymous Coward

Lewis?

Are you quite alright chap?

Not been to the pub or anything? Talking to The-Incredible-Bullshitting-Man at the bar?

Even if true the solution is simple......

We enter into mass production of huge jam jars and cardboard sheets. Oh yes and tranqs for all the squealing women who will be running about.

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Dan
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Roughnecks go!

Sounds like Starship Troopers, where's Denise Richards?! Sign me up.

This is only slightly more scientific than some of the Climate Change research I have seen. Well done.

Also, you want to be careful that this doesn't end up in national panic a la Daily Mail and swine flu.

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Anonymous Coward

May I be the first ...

... to welcome our Humvee-sized, bulletproof meat-eating spider overlords

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Coat

Is it....

...a bit of a slow news day Lewis?

Mine's the coat with the spider-silk ceramic armour pads in the pockets.....

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Am I the first to say?

I for one welcome our new arachnid overlords.

PS Playmobil reconstruction please

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lols

Get that screenplay finished, Lewis!

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Anonymous Coward

Roadside Bomb?

These bad boys can drive?!

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Bad math

Oh pleeeeeze. I know its tongue n cheek but at least make it plausible. There is an upper limit to which those suckers could grow due to mass to strength ratio of the limbs supporting the body. Fact to get to the size of a Humvee and still be able to move the exoskeleton would have to be the reverse of what is suggested. It would have to become as light as possible to maximize the muscle mass to that of the other anatomical structures. The arachnids of the Devonian period got not bigger than 2 meters.

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Unhappy

Evil...

:-( :-( :-(

I always knew spiders were really aliens that will one day take over the world. Anything with eight legs, six eyes and two penises is clearly not natural.

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Paris Hilton

Stab resistant suit?

Can we havest the silk from these puppies to make suits that are stab resistant, harder than kevlar, etc? Sounds like just the trick for my neighborhood.

Paris, because there is nothing hard about her silk thingies

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Piccy...

http://www.jorgenlissner.dk/images%5CPictures%5CPardosa_glacialis_female_JL5215_13265.JPG

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Great...

I hate spiders :(

Also, GG googles contextual ads -

Arctic Trip

We have the perfect escape for you Try one of our voyages! Info online

www.hurtigruten.co.uk/Holiday

No, I don't think I'll be going for your offer thanks, I have no desire to be eaten by a 60 tonne spider.

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Linux

David Weber was right!

They'll come swarming out of their Systems That Must Be Defended in massive commercial engined dreadnoughts and gunboats!! Doomed... DOOMED I TELLS YA!!!!

Probably find that fleshy human young are just the right size for snacking on too...

Maybe we can train Penguins in Asymmetrical Warfare to cull them down?

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Domestication

Maybe the military could domesticate these badass beasts. Some great cyber tomfoolery perhaps, mount a chaingun, a Hellfire or two - the ultimate unmanned combat vehicle - if it runs out of ammo, it can devour it's enemies.

Sounds surprisongly like something out of Command & Conquer Red Alert....

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Go

Aaaaargh!

The stuff of nightmares, and no mistake. By my calculations, you would need a broom approximately 176m tall to shift one of these monsters.

Our old friend Megarachne, a monster invertebrate 34cm in the body, was reclassified as an eurypteryid rather than an arachnid back in 2005, so the crown of "world's largest spider" is once again up for grabs.

http://www.sedgwickmuseum.org/about/news/05spider.html

I propose we train up some of those robo turkeys you found while leafing through your copy of National Geographic this morning. No point in risking fleshies when tackling this menace.

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@ Bad math

"The arachnids of the Devonian period got not bigger than 2 meters."

Ah no problem then, we'll just need to bullseye them from a T-16.

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IT Angle

@Bad Math

Oh - that's ok then. 2 meters is NOTHING to worry about.

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Boffin

Biology factoid

The main reason we don't already have Humvee-sized arthropods is their method of respiration. Rather than lungs, they use a system of long, thin tubes that deliver oxygen to their internal parts. Beyond a certain length, these tubes can't reach the innards without collapsing. Existing large insects and spiders grow about as big as this limit allows; further growth would require the evolution of a different respiration technique.

Sea-dwelling arthropods are not subject to the same limits, as spider crabs and lobsters demonstrate (not to mention prehistoric 2m water-scorpions).

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Unhappy

Cannibal spiders

You describe them as cannibals. If so, then why not just let them eat one another.

Problem solved.

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Flame

Hm... wee problem

Will this work out? Don't they exchange gasses via simple book lungs, and are hence limited in size by simple stoichiometric problems?

If they appear, we all watch Starship Troopers and know how to top em all.

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Anonymous Coward

Peace through superior firepower

Bubba, y'all are gonna need a bigger gun . . .

No problem, Roy, hold my beer and watch THIS!

Where's Earl from the "Tremors" movies when you need him? He'll know how to and be able to deal with this ("Cover your ears . . . " KABOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!!)

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lewis

you are my hero

now take up your anti spider launcher and go get the buggers!!!

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Stop

Thanks...

One more thing to keep me from sleeping!

I say we take pre-emptive action and exterminate them when they reach, say, a metre long.

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Alert

Toke?

"top arachno-boffin Toke Høye"

I think someone's being toking a bit too much. Sheer reefer madness.

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I blame Melkor

They may be strong versus bullets but evidence suggests low to mid-level parties of adventurers with a good balance of combat classes and magic users should be able to take them down quickly enough if there is a bit of XP in it for them.

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Bronze badge

Spiders not threat, scientists create arachno-hamsters

Anybody read the NBC article about the spider silk? Scientists are working to create hamsters and cows which spin spider silk. Now, milking a six-eyed, eight-legged, web-spinning cow for silk just isn't my idea of organic agriculture...

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Alert

@Domestication

Or Doom. Wasn't the final boss a big brain spider with mechanical legs and a chain gun that never ran out of ammo.

Perhaps we should send some marines to deal with them before they get to that point.

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Pirate

Uh-oh...

A perfect excuse to upgrade from the .50 cal Barrett to a 20mm Lahti, methinks.

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Unhappy

Old Ladies

My guess is that an old lady would have to swallow a pretty large fly to feel justified in sticking one of these down her throat.

...and think of the size of the bird that she'd need to swallow to catch the spider!

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Black Helicopters

I say we take off

...and nuke the site from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

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Joke

Yeah...

...But think of the advances in Weaponry in that same 50 year period! sholder launched nukes anyone?

Or maybe I'll just jump on its back, machine gun a hole in its armour and throw a HE grenade in. :D

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All you need it a 15ft tall bath

They'd never climb out of that.

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Stop

Wrong metric?

Surely the annual growth is not the point? The point is actually the increase in warmth to get it that 10% bigger. So by the time they'd all reached that size we'd pretty much have all died from being roasted to death anyway.

Still made me laugh though!

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Boffin

Here's a tip:

Aim for the nerve stem, and put it down for good.

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Coat

I think I see how this all ends up...

According to the referenced article on msnbc,

"It’s even been said that a strand of spider silk the width of a pencil could stop a Boeing 747 in flight."

So not only will be be awash with gigantic, un-killable, flesh-molesting arachnids, we'll be bombarded by falling trans-oceanic jumbo jets knocked from the sky by the anal projections of our new hairy overlords. Perfect! I blame the scientists.

Mine's the one with the hard-hat and directions to the nearest bomb shelter in the pocket.

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Boffin

re Biology factoid

"The main reason we don't already have Humvee-sized arthropods is their method of respiration. Rather than lungs, they use a system of long, thin tubes that deliver oxygen to their internal parts. Beyond a certain length, these tubes can't reach the innards without collapsing. Existing large insects and spiders grow about as big as this limit allows; further growth would require the evolution of a different respiration technique."

Errm... not so. _Insects_ and many other arthropods use spiracles, as you describe. Spiders, however, have 'book lungs'. This means that the max size limit is not imposed by problems with breathing, but by the cube-square law. That scales things down a little, but still allows spiders to achieve sizes in the 2 to 3 metre range. Much beyond that and they'll have problems with their exoskeletons in general and their legs in particular. A two or three metre spider would still be somewhat difficult to dispatch with anything this side of a .50 calibre machine gun. Personally I'd go with a flame-thrower, or, better yet, a nice A-10 with a 30-mm Gatling gun and underwing pylons loaded with napalm and cluster munitions.

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Pirate

Giant rolled up newspaper

Duh! Obvious solution to the problem!

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Joke

What

wut lvls I need be to hunt greenlands zones?!? I can go at 2???? Or wuold 3be bettr???? KTHXBAI!!

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umm

If I remember right couldn't they just fling talcum powder on them to clog up the pores they use to breath? From what I remember that would kill most of our would be mutant insectian or arachnid overlords.

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Boffin

Easy answer

Armour be damned - aim for the eye clusters!

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Easy solution

We train them to enjoy the taste of refrigerator-sized immortal jellyfish and finally answer the immortal question of which phylum is the hardest.

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Unhappy

Why let them get that big?

By the time they get to the size of the family dog, we should already be dispatching them. Or does everyone else wish to wait until they are as big as Humvees? Wonder if there will be Boone and Crockett scores kept on the larger ones.

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Starship Troopers...

Seems that plenty of you have seen the movie, but trust me when I tell you the book was better.

I can't see one, or many, of these spiders posing a threat to a squad of Mobile Infantry. In the book they had some serious combat suits, more Mech Warrior than the rubber helmet things depicted in the movie.

Plus, in the book their weapons were somewhat effective, and they had many more of them to play with.

I've always felt that spiders tend to burn rather nicely, so maybe all we need is a strategically placed molotov or flamethrower hit. If you can deliver enough energy to flash boil the innards, then a 26cm thick armored shell would just serve to build up the pressure until you could get a really entertaining explosion. For that we'd probably need some airbourne lasers.

Then again a shaped charge that can punch through 26cm of rock (seems like that'd be harder than spider) isn't very big at all. I bet you could attach the charge, deto, and ignition mechanism to a decently sized arrow and really give the big game hunters a way to entertain themselves. They all love to pretend they're Rambo.

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But they're squishy on the inside...

...the percussive effect of a high-cal rifle on the armour would shirely do a lot of internal damage?

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Star Ship Troopers rip off

I don't think so mate. You've had far too many lagers today, haven't ya?

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Anonymous Coward

Trivial

This is a job for the exterminators. A good coating of anything and they would suffocate.

Large cans of RAID.

Oh and also --- They don't move around much in the winter.

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Giant, meat-eating spiders

Soon to become a B-grade movie on the SciFi Channel....

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Humwee sized? How about foot sized killer spiders?

Why is everyone afraid of humwee sized spiders? Those I can see and fight against (or run underground). I am more afraid of an army of one foot long spiders crawling from under every rock. They will reach that size much sooner too...

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J
Coat

*** Title

*** Spider-head trophies are a figure of speech, since a spider actually does not have a head, but a cephalothorax.

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